Grayslake: More than Mated: Waking the Bear (Kindle Worlds Novella)

BOOK: Grayslake: More than Mated: Waking the Bear (Kindle Worlds Novella)
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Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.

This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by Three Cats, LLC. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Grayslake: More than Mated remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of Three Cats, LLC, or their affiliates or licensors.

For more information on Kindle Worlds: http://www.amazon.com/kindleworlds

Waking the Bear

 

Ruby Shae

About This Book

 

After suffering the ultimate humiliation at her cousin’s wedding, Audrey Harris leaves her old life behind, and drives until she reaches Grayslake, Georgia. Faced with staying put, or heading north, she decides to stay. Unfortunately, the atmosphere at the B&B where she’s staying isn’t conducive to her plan to give up men, and soon, she ends up at the local bar looking for an ego boost.

Bear shifter, Tad Mitchell, knows first-hand what it feels like to be betrayed by a lover, and he has the physical scars to prove it. Once a romantic, he gave up on women five years ago when his ex-girlfriend threw him away like garbage. When his fated mate walks into his brother’s bar, he easily rebuffs her advances until he’s forced to do the right thing.

Now that Tad has Audrey in his home, he can’t get rid of the sassy, curvy beauty, and the worst part is, he’s not even sure he wants to. No, he definitely wants to, but she’s so stubborn. And sexy. And smart…and he really does need an office manager. When Audrey’s life is on the line, Tad has to decide whether or not to live in the past, or to claim his mate and embrace the future.

Waking the Bear

 

By Ruby Shae

Chapter One

 

Audrey Harris walked into the small dive bar on the edge of town, and took a deep breath. Old school rock music, powered by a colorful jukebox in the corner, blared out of the speakers, and easily drowned out the lively voices of the patrons. There were maybe fifty people in the place, mostly men, and the building already looked like it had reached its maximum capacity.

The swish of the door caused a few people to look her way, but her insignificant arrival didn’t garner more than a few curious glances, and she forced one foot in front of the other until she made it to the bar. Only one other person sat at the “L” shaped counter, and the other dozen vacant seats were at odds with the rest of the room.

Audrey took a seat on the short side of the “L,” and smiled when the bartender approached.

“Evening,” he said. “What can I get you?”

He was tall and muscular, with dark brown hair and brown eyes, and he wore a smile a mile wide, but she wasn’t fooled by his friendly persona. She had no doubts that the man handled all of the disputes in his bar, and anyone who attempted to cross him instantly regretted it.

Normally, she stayed away from alcohol—she couldn’t stand the taste of it, and losing full control of her senses had never appealed—but tonight wasn’t about being normal, and she needed a little bit of liquid courage.

Hell, she deserved it.

“I’ll have a Long Island Iced Tea.”

He studied her for a second, as if somehow knowing she’d never ordered the drink before, and then he nodded once and started crafting the concoction.

“You got it.”

Audrey shook off the bartender’s censure and looked around the room.

A pool table sat in the back of the rectangular shaped building, close to the jukebox, and several round, hi-top tables lined the walls and randomly filled in the rest of the floor. Though there were several stools to accompany each table, most were shoved as far as possible under the wood, and nearly everyone stood.

Oh snap!

The bartender wasn’t the only muscular hottie in the place. The room was a sea of broad shoulders, flat eight-pack abs, and firm, grab-worthy asses. She’d definitely hit the jackpot when she’d decided to stop in Grayslake, Georgia.

Not that she’d come looking for a man. In reality, she was through with men, but after nearly two weeks of relentless self-doubt, she desperately needed an ego boost. Even if it was for only one night. Hell, she didn’t even need a whole night. A couple of hours would do the trick.

“Here you go, honey,” the bartender said, placing her drink on a cocktail napkin. “That will be seven even.”

“Thank you,” she said. She pulled a ten-dollar bill out of the front pocket of her jeans, and handed it to him. “Keep the change.”

She rarely carried cash, but she’d spent the afternoon preparing for the evening, and a visit to the ATM had been one of the things on her list. Being new in town, she’d doubted any place would let her rack up a tab, and she didn’t want the added responsibility of remembering to settle one, anyway.

Other things on her list had included a long drive to the closest mall for a cell-phone case that would hold her identification and a credit card, just in case, and a cute top to go with her favorite pair of snug, ass-hugging jeans.

The ones her ex hated.

They had been the first thing to land in her suitcase when she’d decided to start packing, and though the move had seemed childish and petty, the deed had made her feel good at a time when everything else didn’t.

Overnight, she’d gone from a strong, confident woman who’d had it all, to an
ugly duckling
worth nothing now that she didn’t have a man. Her best friend, Kaylee, was the only one who’d remained by her side, but the massive change of opinion in not only herself, but in everyone else around her, had been the catalyst for her escape.

She refused to live the rest of her life as a victim.

The bartender nodded, moved down the bar to say something to the only other person sitting at the counter, and then moved down further to help a customer who approached the end of the “L” from the vicinity of the pool table.

The sitting man watched the bartender walk away, and then focused his hard, dark brown eyes on her.

Holy hell!

Time seemed to stand still as they studied each other, and she had no idea whether or not he liked what he saw, but she was ready to spread her legs and beg him to fuck her. Her pussy fluttered, as if readying itself for him, and she pressed her thighs together in an effort to dull the sudden, desperate need radiating from her core.

Like the other men, his shoulders were broad, but unlike the others, his t-shirt stretched across his torso, showcasing his firm chest, and the sleeves strained around his biceps. She couldn’t see his abs yet, but she knew they were flat, and she couldn’t wait to drag her fingers over his taut skin.

Hard, sharp angles lined a face that held no expression as he studied her, and the fact that he didn’t smile only added to his appeal. His neck was thick, his hands were big, and though he remained on the stool, she knew he would tower over her five-foot, nine-inch frame.

Liquid heat soaked her panties as she realized he could easily lift her plus-sized body, and fuck her against the wall like she’d always wanted. Her ex had only been a couple of inches taller than her, and he’d seriously lacked the upper body strength to lift his own weight, let alone hers. In fact, if she were being completely honest, she’d never met a man strong enough to carry all of her extra curves.

A thread of self-doubt tried to wiggle its way past her decision to find a man for the night, but she quickly burned it. Even though she’d never been taken against the wall, there had been a few men before her ex, and they’d all loved her body. If Mister Perfect wasn’t interested, she’d find someone else who was.

She picked up her drink, and as if on cue, the man broke their connection and focused on the wall behind the bar as he took a drink from the longneck bottle sitting on the counter in front of him.

Audrey sipped her straw in one continuous drink until she’d downed half the glass. Warmth spread through her body from the inside out, and she was grateful for the airy, cap-sleeved top she wore. The flowy material accentuated her curves, but it didn’t weigh her down and stick to her skin like many, heavier fabrics did.

The “tea” tasted like pure alcohol, but holding the drink bolstered her confidence, and she took a deep breath and slid off the bar stool.

It’s now or never!

It had been a long time since she’d approached a man, but she wasn’t an amateur. She’d made the first move many times before—with mostly favorable results—and she could do it again.

She plastered on what she hoped was a sexy, confident smile, and followed the bar until she reached the vacant seat next to the object of her desire. Then she boldly claimed the seat for her own.

Mister Perfect turned his dark gaze on her again, and another gush of liquid heat escaped from her core. As it did before, his dark, intense expression remained neutral, and her pussy clenched in frantic need. The seam of her jeans pressed against her clit, and she fought the urge to move her hips and allow the friction to ease the overwhelming ache that nearly consumed her.

“I’m not interested.”

He faced forward, returning his attention to the wall behind the bar, and took another drink of his beer. Shocked at his immediate dismissal, she stared at his profile dumbly, until his words fully registered.

The blow cut deeper than it should have, especially coming from a stranger, and her cheeks heated. The words of her ex tried to surface, the ones that ultimately ended their relationship, but she pushed them down and turned toward the rowdy crowd.

Mister Perfect might not want her, but someone would, and one rejection wouldn’t cause her to go into hiding.

Luckily, someone approached her within seconds. He wasn’t the best looking guy in the place, but he wasn’t an ogre, and she really wanted to escape the stool she currently occupied.

“Hey, babe,” he said. “You are looking hot in those jeans. Why don’t you come over and hang out with me and my friends?”

He pointed to a group of guys surrounding a nearby table, and she eagerly agreed.

“I’d love too.”

“Great. How about another drink?”

“I’d love that, too.”

She placed her empty glass on the counter, and sauntered over to the group with an extra swing in her hips. The guy stayed behind to order her drink, and his friends welcomed her with contagious enthusiasm.

Within minutes, she had another drink in her hand, and the rapt attention of five sexy men. It didn’t matter that none of them excited her like the guy at the counter had…she wasn’t looking for anything permanent, and he was obviously an asshole.

 

***

 

“Be nice.”

Fuck you!

Tad Mitchell glared as he watched Declan stroll to the end of the bar without a care in the world. The bartender was too damn observant, and while it was a necessity when single-handedly running a bar in a town full of shifters, it was even more annoying when the man was your all-knowing older brother.

Tad wanted to beat the shit out of his sibling, but he knew it was his own damn fault. When the curvy beauty walked into the bar, her scent hit him like a Mack truck, and he’d been too stunned to hide his emotions.

Or his physical reaction.

Fuck.

Five years.

It had been five years since the betrayal of his ex, Cindy, and he hadn’t felt anything for another woman since. Suddenly, in a matter of minutes, his dick was rock hard, and he was ready to throw out all of his convictions and give the newcomer every—and any—thing she desired.

No way in hell.

Women, especially human women, couldn’t be trusted, and he’d be damned if he ever let one get close to him again. The fact that his throbbing dick seemed to ache for her didn’t mean anything, and if he couldn’t find relief with his hand, then he would find someone willing in the next town over.

A wave of nausea swept over him, and he immediately nixed the idea of touching another woman. At least that much hadn’t changed.

He’d tried a few stomach turning one-night stands about a year after Cindy’s betrayal, but he’d learned pretty quick that he wasn’t ready to touch another woman, and once he bared his chest, they weren’t ready to touch him.

He briefly considered taking off his shirt, and ending their mutual attraction right now, but he knew Declan would have a fit and he wasn’t in the mood. It had nothing to do with the fact that he didn’t want to see the familiar look of revulsion on her face. He could douse her interest without seeing that look, and then each of them could go their separate ways.

He schooled his features, and forced himself to look at her.

Big—huge—mistake.

Her brown eyes locked with his, and a wave of emotions swamped him. If there had been any doubt in his mind, in that moment he knew.

Mate!

Everything he’d ever wanted stared back at him, and it took every ounce of will power he possessed to stay seated and not show any emotion. Her blond hair was parted on the side, and it fell in layered waves to her shoulders. If she had on make-up, he couldn’t tell, and he was mesmerized by her natural beauty.

He’d noticed her painted on jeans when she’d entered the building, and he desperately wanted to palm the large globes of her ass, and leave a trail of kisses down the inside of her thick, gorgeous thighs. The sexy top she wore accented her large, generous breasts, but it didn’t hide the soft, lush curves of her belly.

The scent of her arousal wrapped around him, and he desperately wanted to rip off her clothes and sink his thick cock into her warmth. Against the wall, on the pool table, across the bar…the possibilities in the bar alone were endless, and the onslaught of emotions gave him the will to look away.

Mate or not, he couldn’t give in. He’d had strong feelings for his ex, too, enough that he’d planned to marry her, and look how well that ended. He glanced down at the scars peeking through the sleeve on his right arm and steeled his resolve.

He took a drink of his beer, waited for her to fully claim the seat next to him, and then ended it before it started.

“I’m not interested.”

He immediately regretted the words, and he took another drink of his beer in an effort to keep his mouth shut. He’d said what he’d needed to say, and despite how it made him feel, he was holding his ground.

She stared at him for a full minute before turning away, and he was both grateful and devastated when another man approached her. 

“Hey, babe,” the man said, and Tad silently cursed. Her new admirer was a first-class prick named Clint with only one thing on his mind. “You are looking hot in those jeans. Why don’t you come over and hang out with me and my friends?”

“I’d love too.”

His mate’s eager response caused some of his regret and jealousy to dissipate.

“Great. How about another drink?”

“I’d love that, too.”

BOOK: Grayslake: More than Mated: Waking the Bear (Kindle Worlds Novella)
12.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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